The question begged in the title here points us down the road to the subject of this Overdrive Radio podcast, a notion voiced quite well in last week's edition by Breon Thomas when he noted that entrepreneurship, broadly, is about creating systems of support for your efforts at success in business. Systems could come in the form of partnerships with other businesses -- great relationships with brokers, longer-term freight contracts with dependable shippers -- to help ensure you negotiate the next load at a level of profit commensurate to keep the business afloat, feed and clothe and shelter the family back home, and leave plenty to invest in the future.
If it’s growth that you’re after, beyond a single truck -- or cargo van, as in Thomas's world -- you won't get a much better example of systems-focused pursuit than the 2021 Small Fleet Champ, Silver Creek Transportation and its leader, Jason Cowan. As his company's grown, he's built an in-house program for drug and alcohol testing, devised creative methods of engaging drivers and others around the fleet with the wide array of safety/other performance data available, and much, much more, as you'll hear in today's podcast.
Cowan's investment in both people and inside/outside support underpins a company culture that’s about well more than operating at a profit. His example speaks to the value of the right team, and a clear vision. As recently as 2019, as regular readers and Overdrive Radio listeners will know, the business sat at just nine trucks after a couple decades in existence. Cowan assembled a brain trust made up of sons Zane and Zebb Cowan, already involved in the family business, and many others, with a goal of figuring out how to reach a growth goal of 30 trucks. COVID set them back a bit, particularly when it comes to new equipment purchases, but by this spring the company was just about there. Maintaining a culture that emphasizes personal growth for all involved, to the ultimate benefit of the entire company, is a challenge that’s always top of mind and that has helped drive growth, too.
[Related: Poised for longevity, growth: Small Fleet Champ Silver Creek Transportation]